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How Much Does It Cost to Charge An Electric Car

How Much Does It Cost to Charge An Electric Car

In today's drive for cleaner and more cost-effective transportation, electric vehicles (EVs) have taken center stage. EVs promise not only a cleaner environment but also potential savings that have piqued the interest of car enthusiasts. However, the high upfront cost of EVs often raises questions about their long-term affordability.

Beneath the sleek exteriors and futuristic promise, how much does it truly cost to charge an electric car? Is it a pocket-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline vehicles? We're here to untangle the numbers and find out.

How do you calculate the cost of charging an electric car?

Calculating the cost of EV charging is a relatively simple process using the formula provided:

Charging cost = (VR / RPK) x CPK

Let's break down the formula step by step and illustrate it with an example:

  1. Vehicle range (VR): This refers to how far your electric car can go on a full charge. For instance, if your electric car has a range of 200 miles on a full charge, VR would be 200 miles.

  2. Range per kWh (RPK): This factor estimates how many miles you can drive per kilowatt-hour of electricity. On average, this is typically around 3 to 4 miles per kWh. For this example, let's use 3 miles per kWh.

  3. Cost per kWh (CPK): This is the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour. Depending on where you charge your EV, CPK can vary. For this illustration, let's consider a Level 2 charger that costs $0.23 per kWh.

Now, let's calculate the monthly charging cost:

Charging cost = (VR / RPK) x CPK

Charging cost = (200 miles / 3 miles per kWh) x $0.23 per kWh

Charging cost = (67 kWh) x $0.23 per kWh

Charging cost = $15.41

So, for a monthly driving distance of 1,200 miles, if you use a Level 2 charger that costs $0.23 per kWh, your monthly charging cost would be around $92.

It's important to note that this is a simplified calculation and actual costs may vary due to factors like fluctuations in electricity rates, driving conditions, and charging efficiency. However, this formula provides a good estimate of your monthly charging expenses based on your vehicle's range, the efficiency of your EV, and the cost of electricity in your area.

How do recharge costs compare to gas prices?

The current average gas price in the US is about $3.8 per gallon. If you have a 12-gallon gas-powered car, it would cost you roughly $45 to fill up your tank. If your car can go about 30 miles on a gallon of gas, a full tank would let you drive around 360 miles.

Now, let's compare this to the cost of charging an electric car. If you drive approximately 1,183 miles per month, you'll need to visit the gas station more than three times and spend around $144. This is a significant increase in cost compared to charging an electric vehicle.

Based on our example above, driving 1,200 miles on an EV would only cost around $92 per month This is a 36% reduction in cost compared to filling up a gas tank three times a month.

It's important to remember that these estimates are based on current national averages, which may change over time. Additionally, the difference in cost between charging an electric car and fueling a gasoline-powered car may get smaller as more fuel-efficient cars become available. However, it's clear that electric cars are a more cost-effective choice compared to traditional gas-powered cars. Electric vs. gas cars cost comparison is essential for making an informed decision about your vehicle.

Cost of charging an EV at home

The costs of electric car charging at home primarily depend on a few key factors:

  1. Electricity costs: The rate you pay for electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a crucial determinant of your charging cost. Electricity rates can vary significantly based on your location, the time of day, and your utility provider.

  2. Charging speed: Different EVs and charging equipment provide varying charging speeds. Faster charging come with higher upfront installation costs but can reduce charging time and potentially be more efficient.

  3. Charging frequency: How often you charge your EV at home will directly impact your monthly charging expenses. Frequent charging, especially from a low battery state, will increase your electricity usage.

  4. EV efficiency: The efficiency of your specific EV model also plays a role. More efficient vehicles can travel farther on the same amount of electricity, reducing your charging frequency.

Cost of level 2 and DC fast charging

Estimating the costs of charging at Level 2 and DC fast charging stations can be a bit tricky as the prices and availability of charging networks can vary quite a bit depending on where you are.

If you're considering Level 2 charging, you have the option of installing a charging station in your own garage, but it doesn't come cheap. It usually costs around $2,000, which covers the equipment and the installation. Going for Level 2 charging means you can charge your car much faster, sometimes in half the time. Plus, it could potentially make your home more valuable.

Most electric cars, even Teslas, can use Level 2 public charging stations. However, it's important to note that Nissan Leafs use a fast-charging standard called CHAdeMO, while other electric cars use a different fast-charging standard called CCS.

Additionally, many states, local governments, and electric companies offer incentives and discounts to encourage people with electric cars to set up charging stations at home. These incentives can help you save on the overall cost of charging your electric vehicle. Considering electric car maintenance costs is also essential for evaluating the long-term expenses of owning an electric vehicle.

Finding the right plug to charge an electric vehicle

Most fast-charging stations have both the CCS and the NACS, with different cables on each side of the station, just like how some gas pumps can serve both regular gasoline and diesel fuel through separate hoses. Alternatively, you can keep a charger adapter in your glove box just to be sure. A CCS to Tesla Adapter lets you charge your Tesla at over 5,000 DC fast chargers nationwide, while a Tesla to J1772 Adapter opens up the Tesla charging network to J1772 EV drivers.

In terms of cost, a 240-volt (Level 2) recharge might come at no cost or have a fixed hourly rate. Charging networks often offer membership programs to help you save on charging expenses, which can be especially useful if you can't charge your vehicle at home regularly.


  • How much does it actually cost to charge an electric car?

    The cost to charge an electric car varies based on your location, electricity rates, and the vehicle's battery capacity. Based on the current national average electricity rate, it can range from $8 to $23 for a full charge at home, which can provide a range of 100-300 miles.

  • How much does it cost to charge an electric car for 300 miles?

    Charging an electric car for 300 miles can cost around $23, depending on electricity rates and the vehicle's efficiency. This cost is significantly lower than filling up a gas-powered car for the same distance.

  • Is charging an electric car cheaper than gas?

    Generally, charging an electric car is cheaper than using gasoline. The exact savings depend on electricity rates versus gas prices in your area. On average, EVs cost less per mile than traditional gas-powered vehicles.

  • How much does charging an EV cost per 100 miles?

    The cost of driving an electric vehicle is typically around $8 per 100 miles, making it a more cost-effective option compared to gasoline-powered cars. However, this cost can vary depending on electricity rates and the vehicle's efficiency.

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